There’s been a viral video going around for a long time now about a photographer who shot one Polaroid photo every day: Jamie Livingston. Jamie’s story originally went viral years ago via Mental Floss when a writer stumbled upon a website with loads and loads of Polaroids. After a whole lot of digging around, the writer came to the conclusion that the photos belonged to Jamie Livingston and now a book of around 6,564 Polaroids are being showcased. For the uninitiated, Jamie was a cinematographer and MTV video editor.
Just like pretty much everything that does well on the web and eventually goes viral, this book is taking something from the web and bringing it into the real world. This book is also being said to be very heavy because it contains just that many photos.
The project is being set up by Hugh Crawford, who was a personal friend of Jamie’s until he passed away almost 20 years ago. Here’s what Hugh has to say:
When my friend Jamie Livingston, photographer, filmmaker, circus performer, accordion player, New York Mets fan, and best man at my wedding died on his forty-first birthday, he left behind hundreds of friends and a collection of over 6,500 photographs chronologically organized and neatly stored in a fruit of the month club box and three suitcases.
Jamie was born October 25th 1956 at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, and grew up in the UN Plaza, a luxury apartment building near the United Nations, of which Jamie said “It’s a really nice building except that Truman Capote pees in the elevator.” In 1975, he went to Bard College, where he studied filmmaking and met many of the friends pictured in his Polaroids. Often sick (he suffered from what was later diagnosed as Crohn’s disease), he spent much time sequestered in his dorm room, the gathering place for his friends. It was in this milieu that I met Jamie, We eventually had dorm rooms across the hall from each other which was handy when I shattered my leg skateboarding and had someone to recuperate with.
For eighteen years, Jamie took a single Polaroid once a day, every day, including his last. The photographic project that he eventually named SOME PHOTOS OF THAT DAY, began in 1979 during his last two months at Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Polaroids continued after college as Jamie traveled the world performing with the Janus Circus, then moved through a succession of funky New York City apartments, including a loft on Fulton Street filled with circus stuff and musical instruments that he shared with Chris Wangro. There are photos of many parties, the “Orphans’ Thanksgiving,” film screenings, visits from a world wide network of friends and musical jam sessions. Through it all, he took pictures, made movies, and loved his friends. And the Polaroids capture those intertwined lives filled with creativity, pain, celebrations, illness, joy, and the beauty of the ordinary closely observed.